story by Michele Toberer Nineteen-year-old BJ Billingsley has been a member of the Arkansas Cowboys Association for four years, competing as a tie-down roper. BJ […]
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Meet the Member Daniel Dorris
story by Kyle Eustice
Born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, but raised in Harviell, Daniel Dorris has been fascinated by the cowboy lifestyle since he was a little boy. Although he turned 40 in June, it’s something he barely noticed.
“I don’t really feel any different than I did when I was 39,” joked Daniel. “I think 30 was harder. Once you turn 40, it’s not a big deal.”
Daniel was greatly influenced by Harve Reynolds, who had a 4-H Youth Rodeo Program in Poplar Bluffs in the ‘80s. Harve rode bareback in the ACA and got young Daniel roping from there.
“I started when I was 14,” said Daniel. “Harde has helped me a lot over the years. I used to ride his horses. Rodeo is all I’ve wanted to do since then.”
Harde taught him everything he knew. Daniel’s father, Billy, 62, worked on a cattle farm and didn’t have any horses, but Harde would come out and rope cows for the family. “I watched him as a kid,” said Daniel. “It intrigued me and I really wanted to get started.”
Daniel got his USPRC card when he was a teenager and initially didn’t participate too much. He got married in 1997 and divorced in 2013, which is when he started going to more ACA rodeos.
“I try to stick close to home,” said Daniel. “Most of the ACA rodeos are pretty close and the travel time isn’t too bad.”
Daniel has owned his own fairier company since 1997, Dorris Horseshoeing, which he believes ties perfectly into his lifestyle.
“We have mama cows on the property so my job allows me to do other things and make own schedule,” explained Daniel. “I shoe a lot and stay around roping and rodeos.”
His mother Mary, older brother William, 43, sisters Amy and Meggie never gravitated towards rodeo the way Daniel did. He was determined to make a splash in the rodeo community and has had a few milestones in his career he can be proud of today.
“I won a horse trailer in 1998, and the all-around in 4-H in 1995 and 1996,” recalled Daniel. “I finished 8th in the Oklahoma City Rodeo USTRC Finals in 2010. That was a good feeling.”
Daniel has a 20-year-old son, Trevor, who also rodeos. Daniel has hauled him to youth rodeos since he was 12 and has enjoyed watching him get as enthralled with competing as he was when he was a kid.
“We went to Shawnee for the Youth Finals,” said Daniel. “He still ropes at home at local rodeos. I’ve been roping with him since the beginning. In 2010, he took first at the local youth rodeo association team roping. It was pretty neat. I’m very proud of him.”
Daniel also has a daughter Emily, 14, who likes to do barrels, but enjoys simply riding horses more than competing. He and his father are partners on Daniel’s ranch. They have cattle and horses, which Emily helps take care of, as well. For fun, they like to check on the animals, fish and rope, but also take time to unwind.
“When we have some time off, we like to stay home and relax,” said Daniel. “We watch movies or just talk. We’re on the go most of the time, constantly moving. Sundays are our days where we just relax.”
If he could accomplish anything in rodeo, it would be to go the to US Finals and “win a bunch of money,” but he’s more focused on taking care of his kids these days. He’s learning a lot from them, especially when it comes to music.
“I listen to country if I can,” said Daniel. “But I listen to a big variety now because of my kids. Their tastes are all over the place. One day it can be pop music and the next, it could be something different. You just never know [laughs].”
Daniel made the ACA Finals last year and his short term goal is to make it to the finals again to see what he can “get done.” He usually practices every Wednesday, but rodeo is always something close to his heart.
“Dedication is the main thing,” said Daniel. “If you ever get hooked on it, it’s kind of a blessing and a curse. It’s hard to quit and I don’t think I ever will.”